Physical therapy aide jobs are the entry level positions in physical therapy practices. They are the assistants to physical therapy assistants and may also provide direct support for Physical Therapists. They often split their time between office or clerical operations and support duties in the physical therapy clinic itself.
Not all physical therapy practices have dedicated physical therapy aide jobs, but most do. In those that don’t, the aide’s job duties are typically split between clerical staff and helping physical therapy assistants. Most offices actually employ several physical therapy aides and they are an integral part of the practice’s success.
Duties of Various Physical Therapy Aide Jobs
In some physical therapy practices, the aide job title is used interchangeably between aides and assistants; however, the industry standard is that physical therapy aide jobs are actually the entry level positions and require the least education, training and experience of all physical therapy jobs.
Physical therapy assistants are the equivalent of nursing staff in any other medical practice. Aides are essentially the nursing assistant level. They help Physical Therapists and assistants provide the treatment that patients need to reduce or relieve pain, increase mobility and decrease the affects of illness or disability on patients.
Physical therapy aide jobs include supportive activities to improve the office operations and to increase the efficiency of patient therapy sessions. Aides do not provide direct patient care but may still be involved in patient therapy activities.
Physical therapy aides may provide physical, emotional or informational support to patients. They may be called upon to help those patients with physical challenges move, including supporting patients in getting in and out of physical therapy treatment equipment, on and off of tables or beds, and in and out of wheelchairs and other mobility assistance devices.
Reporting Relationships in Physical Therapy Offices
All patient care activities that physical therapy aides perform are done under the direct supervision of a Physical Therapist or physical therapy assistant. While physical therapy aide jobs may be supervised by a senior physical therapy assistant, the Physical Therapist is still the official manager of all assistants and aides and is also ultimately responsible for the health and wellness of all patients in the care of any of the physical therapy practice’s employees.
Other Responsibilities of Physical Therapy Aide Jobs
In addition to assisting with patient therapy sessions, physical therapy aide jobs are tasked with maintaining the condition of the physical therapy office. They may organize and clean up the front office or reception area as well as maintain the treatment clinic. Aides clean equipment, change linens, stock supplies and maintain electronic and paper records associated with inventory and equipment.
Most physical therapy aid jobs also include clerical responsibilities. Many aides work the front desk or reception desk of the physical therapy office. They answer phones, make patient follow-up calls, and communicate with other physicians’ offices, labs, suppliers, and insurance providers.
Many physical therapy aide jobs include the responsibility for maintaining patient records both in paper and electronic format. They may complete other record keeping and documentation as well, including filing insurance forms, copying records, recording information in medical databases, and ensuring that patients have reviewed and updated their account and patient history information. Most also maintain physical inventory and associated records.
Employers of Physical Therapy Aides
While most people think that physical therapy aide jobs are only available in private practice clinics, there are actually a number of locations in which physical therapy aide jobs can be found. Aides may find work with numerous medical facilities and organizations, including:
- Nursing Homes
- Assisted Living Communities
- Occupational Health Clinics
- Private Physician Offices
- Home Health Services
- Public Health Clinics
- Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
Physical Requirements and Work Environment
There are part time and full time physical therapy aide jobs that can be found in various facilities. Regardless of a where an aide works, the job is bound to be somewhat physically taxing. In some instances they will be required stand for long periods of time, as well as frequently bend, kneel, stoop and lift. They must often be able to provide physical support to patients, as well.
Physical therapy aide jobs can also be found with a range of schedules. While most aides will work during the day, some physical therapy offices are open evenings and weekends in order to accommodate patient schedules. This affords aides the chance to work during non-traditional hours too.
Training for Physical Therapy Aide Jobs
The minimum education that is typically required for working in physical therapy aide jobs is a high school diploma, though employers look favorably upon workers who hold a career certificate or Associate Degree. Many physical therapy aides will complete a program in medical office clerical training in order to increase their own knowledge and career outlook. Physical therapy offices usually provide on the job training for the specific duties of the various physical therapy aide jobs.
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